Post #187: Yet Another Reboot

September 20th, 2015

Dear Alice,

My site went down for a bit, out of neglect. I don’t know when they made it a rule that domains must update their information yearly, but mine was years out of date, and the admins tried to reach me at my old e-mail address…. With no response, they took my site down, and it took a while to get to the bottom of it. The worst part is that my site is no longer on the first page of Google! There goes all my “hard-earned” Google reputation.

Not that it matters. I’ve really lost the thread of my own narrative, let alone of this blog. I guess I just had a stronger drive to share my story with others when I was younger. Now I guess the story is, “What do I do with this incomplete project, now that my drive has died?” I’m a completionist at heart, and I truly believe that these songs I spent weeks of my life constructing deserve better. So, that’ll have to happen, eventually. If I can afford a good producer, I’ll get one.

Admittedly, I’m trying to restart my life, revisiting open mikes to see if I can’t find the motivation to do another show. I have a few close friends who’ve never heard me play before, which seems absurd considering how much of a part of my life it used to be. I went to the Free Times Cafe a few Mondays ago, and the host and a few others recognised me. I’m also signed up with a Toronto Song-writer’s meetup group. All good moves for getting back on the horse.


Post #186: Intended Hiatus

February 3rd, 2015

Dear Alice,

I’m off work. I’m off work. I’m off work. It’s nice to be free, it really is. Much better than what I was feeling, which was “no motivation and feeling hopeless to recultivate any”. Now, I’ve got the room, and while the motivation is still a bit feeble, some days are better than others.

Today was the first day I actually did some serious song-writing. (Other days I’ve tried, I just scribbled a few rhymes on a page - the equivalent of noodling on a guitar.) I coated my innards with coffee, picked up my guitar, and wrestled with a verse or two. No promises of this being a sign of my return to the stage, of course. I’m still pretty jaded on the cost-benefit of pursuing anything too seriously. (I’ve been gone for almost three years. “Still” is correct.) I think more often of dropping this site altogether. We’ll see.

Today, I also decided to top op my phone with some songs I hadn’t heard in a while, and I decided to revisit that ancient Say Ah! CD relic. What a trip! There are some moments that make me smile, but there are a lot of cringe-worthy moments too! Oh man, I wasn’t a lead guitarist - I was more of a secondary rhythm guitar player. We sounded better live, I think. Anyway, I wonder what the rest of the band thinks when they look back on that experience.


Post #185: Accidental hiatus

June 7th, 2014

Dear Alice,

I’m sorry I haven’t written you in a while. I blame it mostly on work, as usual (sorry: broken record) but if ever I should be allowed to complain about it, this time is legit! What an eye-opener! They aren’t joking when they say that “What makes you tougher makes you stronger.”

I’ve always held to the principle that work stays at work, yet there comes a point where they can break you. I was overloaded to the point where I was losing sleep, and waking up to just get everything sorted out. In retrospect, it all makes sense, how it all came into being, and I sometimes catch myself kicking myself for the attitude I held in the months beforehand (i.e. the second half of 2013). “Why didn’t I provide more training?”, “Why wasn’t I documenting more often?”, etc. Yet, luckily, I’ve got this awesome built-in defense mechanism for regret: I trust my past self - always. From that, I can recall how little guidance I was given, and how much I was making up on the fly, etc. etc.

Anyways, that was then, this is now. No promises of being a “new man”, no promises of “finally figuring it out”. I still care about music, and I still want to be a part of the scene. I’ll keep you posted.

David =B~)

Post #184: Time off, how I missed thee

January 14th, 2014

Dear Alice,

I just had a week off work, and I forgot how much I enjoy not working. :)

I don’t know how we do normally, to be honest. There’s no time to compress: we work for 8 hrs a day, we commute for 1-2 hrs, we take ~1 hr to get ready for work. My mental math says I’ve only got 4 hrs a work day to myself. What about with kids?! It’s so dumb.

I remember when I came to the conclusion that time was more important than money, and I convinced my employers to let me work 4 days a week. I think it’s still a good idea. Hopefully, I can get that going again in the near future.

My whiteboard came in handy during the time off. Anything I felt I should do, I’d put it up on the board, and it wouldn’t come off until I did it. I bought some winter jackets and boots; I did a big ol’ spring cleaning of clothes I’m no longer wearing; I saw a bunch of peeps I hadn’t seen in a while; it’s all been pretty good.

Other things:
I got the sequel, “How to Rap 2″ book from my friend for Christmas. I also bought myself a Jazz book and a Blues book. I’m hoping to get better at all of these things. The trick, in my head, is not to put so much pressure on myself to do it all, right now, or I’ll blow a fuse, and give up.
So far, I’ve written one dumb rap over a Katy Perry beat, and I’ve jammed with friends who gave me some good pointers on how to approach jazz tunes. Here’s hoping I can get back on stage with my own material by the end of this year.

Oh shoot, is that a resolution? My only resolution is to not have any resolutions… but I already can see myself buying a place in April…

David =B~)

Post #183: Mind-maps

December 14th, 2013

Dear Alice,

I think I need you again. The empty void of the internet doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’m in my yearly state of mild panic, where I recognize that I’m not where I want to be, I’m doing things to move forward, but I’m not always sure that I’m moving towards something better, and it’s just something different. How’s that for a vague response?

Let’s try again.

I love progress, and I expect to be constantly improving at everything in everything always. I’ve constantly got three things in my head: Careers, hobbies, and relationships. The problem is that when I’m unhappy in any of them, I want something to change NOW. Unfortunately, these things are big things! They take time to change! And usually, they required more thought and forsight than I first invested in the solution.

I’m almost at a point where can I recognize this and not whine about it. Almost. I can make a plan, I can execute a plan, but I still get flustered when Plan A fails, and now I’ve got to quickly come up with a plan B. The other issue is when I stall, and I’ve got plan A1, plan A(I), and plan A-alpha all on the table at the same time.

I’ve learned/discovered/developed a technique for putting all my thoughts on a subject in one place, so that I can connect the dots and settle on action points. I’m calling it a mind-map, but I bet there’s some crazy jargonical word out there for it already, and I bet I’m not the first one to come up with it… but I’m pretty happy with it. I first did one with WHAT THE HECK AM I TRYING TO DO WITH MY MUSIC??, and I’ve just done one with work and seen some good thoughts come out of it. I’ll report back if any good comes out of them!

Wish me luck!

David =B~)

Post #182: Just a December update

December 7th, 2013

I started to work on my songs this morning, when I felt that I’m tired of working on my old songs, and the thoughts that I wanted to write about aren’t ready to turn into a song. At least, not in my opinion. I like to write songs that, if someone were to challenge me on why I wrote it, I could at least defend the contents.

I hope to someday write another Stay Home, since I’m tired of writing from a cynical headspace. I see flashes of it here and there, and it’s making me feel like I’m finally seeing the blind spots in my previous mindset, but it’s still just a haze.

Once the dust settles on Tell Me You Love Me, I should be in a good spot.

Post #181: Better plan next year

November 3rd, 2013

My birthday party is over, and what a stressful two weeks it was trying to make it work! Really, as fun at the night turned out to be, I’m super relieved that its over. There are only so many lessons that I can learn in one night, if you know what I mean.

I roped two people into the responsibilities of the party, and I didn’t coordinate with them properly. Once they said “sure”, I just slammed the itinerary down, sent it to the guests, and I never discussed it with them. Had I spoken with them prior to doing so, it would have saved me from stressing out so much. I wasted a lot of brain power thinking about how I would get people to move from the house party to the club, and in the end, it never happened. Had I not thrown in that idea, we likely would have put more effort into planning the house party.

But now that that’s done, it’s time to take a serious look at life. I’ve been stressing over work for a good three months, and it’s only getting worse. I think I’ll have to drop most of my social life for the next month just to sort it out… but that’s the cost of gettig older and being bad at planning things!

Post #180: HHK Competition Edition 2

September 21st, 2013

Last night, I took part in the HHK competition for the second time. The last time that I did it, I spent months learning how to sing “Big Pimpin’”, figuring out my breath, and trying on different deliveries and voices just to make it work. I put a lot of work into it, and then let myself down when I went on stage.

This time, I decided to let myself go in without any mission. I just wanted to do my song justice. I didn’t do as much work as last time, especially since I’ve been singing “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems” since high school. I tried it a few times during the past two weeks, and I felt like I had it all down pat.

Then, I get on stage, and I’m doing Ma$e’s verse… and somehow, I’m screaming his lines. What the heck happened?! I’m thinking, “Woah! Calm down! This is Ma$e we’re talking about!” and I try to get back on track. The chorus comes, and I go for the falsetto… and I can’t hear the crowd. I might have been banking on the crowd to join in too. Ah well.

The only other part for me was there was this one guy at the front, who was trying to communicate with me. Hand gestures - he’s trying to tell me to speak louder into the mike? Okay, fine. I start cupping my hands around my voice to go louder for Puff’s verse. I get to the chorus again - I go for falsetto, and I look down at the guy. He’s booing! Booing?! Well, fuck, what do you do with that?

At this point, I’m out of breath, I wasted so much gas being loud - and doing every freakin’ chorus - that by the time I reach at Biggie’s verse, I’m puffing. The guy’s still booing, and I’m drowning on stage. I’m thinking, “please, just make it to that one part in the verse with some breath in me.”

Playboy, I told ya. Bring your might to me?
Bruise too much, and lose too much
Step on stage, the girls boo too much
I guess that’s cause you hang with lame dudes too much

I finished. I didn’t try the chorus a third time. I just stopped. Exhaled, and the song was over.

Here’s what the judge had to say: (I’ll quote the whole thing later, but for now, I’ll put what was unofficially deemed to be the #1 quote of the entire night)
“If you the only guy booing… YOU A HATER” - Evil Dee The Philosopher!

I’m still shaken, not by the hater, but by the performance. Honestly, I think I didn’t have my wits about me because I just came off of a hellish week at work. Next time: (1) Not singing the full chorus. If there’s one thing I learned from the other competitors, it’s not to sing the choruses. Let the crowd do it. Let the crowd take some responsibility for having a good time! (2) Try to de-stress before the competition!

Post #179: Calm down, do a Sudoku.

September 8th, 2013

Sure enough, I’ve been back home for a month, and I’m in a rut again. I came back with a list of things that I was anxious to do, but once I started trying to do them, something wouldn’t work out the way I thought it would, and I’d have to regroup. Worse, I can’t concentrate on my personal to-do list because my work to-do list keeps creeping up on me. I start to panic, and I whip out my Ultimate Ninja Sudoku book and do a puzzle. Or three.

Yesterday, I kept the day to myself, did a decent clean up of my apartment. I even got rid of all the crumbs in my toaster. One ex noted that I rearrange the furniture when I start feeling anxious. I don’t mind that being a “tell”. I also try to write everything that I need to get done down, which is why I rode my bike in the rain to Grand and Toy, in the hopes of purchasing a large white dry erase board. (No luck. The ones in stock weren’t what I was looking for.)

I don’t like taking my work home, but I have a funny feeling that I’m going to start doing that. At least the documentation part.

Post #178: Come Together, Right Now, Over Me

July 31st, 2013

I’ve been back in the Caribbean, at my parents’ place for a week now, and the verdict is still out on the experience.

We’re doing a huge family reunion, and it’s very eventful. We’ve gone to the original house where my granddad grew up; we went on a party boat that brought us to a great snorkeling area; we celebrated my aunt’s birthday at a bar that once was a fort and once a place to house the crazy folks in Grenada. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be an extended family kinda guy. You know when you go to these week long gatherings, and you gravitate towards a select few folks, and for that week alone, you stick together and establish yourselves as a posse? I didn’t do that.

Instead of being excited for the next event, I’m much happier with my solo routine, that involves coffee and programming in the morning, brushing my hair after I shower, and push ups before I go to sleep. I’m more interested in fixing my website, or resurrecting my internal debate on buying a condo, or restarting yoga/martial arts again.

Maybe that’s my problem. Which is why the verdict is out.